DNR Submits Central Sands Lakes Study Findings

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the department has submitted the final Central Sands Lakes Study Report and recommendations to the Wisconsin Legislature advising a management framework to address impacted water resources across the Central Sands Region.

Over the past three years, the DNR and partners have evaluated and modeled the impacts of groundwater withdrawals from high-capacity wells from Pleasant, Long and Plainfield Lakes in Waushara County, as required by state law. The $887,000 multidisciplinary Central Sands Lakes Study involved the collaboration of over 30 state and federal scientists and policy experts.

The study built on decades of research evaluating groundwater and surface water connections in the region. While the three study lakes fluctuate naturally, the DNR determined that groundwater withdrawals used for irrigated agriculture significantly reduce water levels and impact lake ecosystems and human uses on two of three study lakes: Long and Plainfield.

The DNR recommends the Legislature consider forming a management framework across the entire Central Sands region to encourage and assist landowners in finding collaborative solutions to water-quantity issues.

“To equitably manage the resources, we need a comprehensive strategy supported by the Wisconsin Legislature to empower stakeholders in the region to improve our water resources,” said DNR Deputy Secretary Todd Ambs.

As part of the study, the DNR held a series of public presentations, a public hearing and a public comment period. The DNR received written and oral comments on the study from over 70 individuals and groups. Summarized comments and DNR responses are posted on the DNR’s website.

For more information, visit the DNR’s Central Sands Lakes Study webpage.